A Napier mother who fled police with seven unrestrained
children in the car, three of whom were in the boot, pleaded
guilty in court today.
Tracy Waihape, 39, appeared in Napier District Court on four
charges after an incident in Wairoa on August 5.
She pleaded guilty to driving while unlicensed, failing to
remain at a checkpoint, failing to stop and resisting arrest
and was convicted and sentenced to 80 hours community work.
When police stopped Waihape they found she was transporting a
2-year-old, a 3-year-old and two 14-year-olds unrestrained
and in non-compliant car seats that were not secured to the
body of the car.
Waihape then fled the scene, and took police on a 2km pursuit
that reached speeds of 65km/h.
As a constable attempted to arrest her she pushed the officer
and told him to "f*** off".
With Waihape in custody and in the back of a patrol car,
police impounded the Subaru, but as they began searching the
vehicle they discovered three more children, aged 4, 5 and
10, under a cargo cover in the car's boot.
When checking the vehicle, police discovered the warrant had
expired in 2011, registration had expired in 2012 and Waihape
was unlicensed and had been forbidden from driving since
Waihape's lawyer Philip Jensen said the case was "a matter of
"The whole family were extremely venerable and emotional," he
said referring to a tangi in Gisborne they were travelling
"Her thought process was that her and her children would just
be left on the side of the road in Wairoa if the police
impounded her car." Mr Jensen also argued against members of
the media taking photographs of his client because of an
"emotional consideration" for her children.
"Do they have to see their mother's photograph in the
newspapers?" Judge Jonathan Down agreed and said the case was
not bound by public interest, while media scrutiny went
"beyond what is necessary".
"The way you behaved on that day was dumb," Judge Down told
"I'm sure if you could go back you would to it differently."
He entered convictions on all four charges and sentenced
Waihape to 80 hours community work for resisting arrest.
It is understood Waihape, the mother of six of the seven
children, and a grandmother of one, has also be served with
infringement notices for carrying the seven children in the
car in unrestrained and unapproved car seats.
She has previously appeared in court on unrelated charges and
was issued with a warrant for her arrest when she failed to
arrive at the Wairoa District Court on August 7 to face her
- By Sam Hurley of Hawke's Bay Today